The Lions started and finished strong in a true team victory at Portland Saturday.
PORTLAND - LMU women's basketball completed the season sweep of West Coast Conference rival Portland, and snapped a seven game skid, with a 77-62 win at the Chiles Center Saturday afternoon.
Big first and fourth quarters were key for the Lions, who move to 8-16 overall and 4-9 in WCC play. Portland, which picked up its first WCC win on Thursday over Pepperdine, dropped to 3-21 overall and 1-12 in league play.
"This was huge, especially on the road," said Head Coach Charity Elliott. "We've been so close in so many of these games and to come in and put together four quality quarters was big."
Leslie Lopez-Wood led all scorers with 20 points, including six triples, which is one off the LMU single-game record. Sophie Taylor had 14 points and 12 rebounds for her seventh double-double of the season while Andee Velasco and Cheyanne Wallace chipped in 10 points each.
Portland was paced by Ashley Gray's 14 points. Darian Slaga added 13 off the bench and Kaylie Van Loo had 12.
The Lions started hot, hitting 50 percent from the field in the first quarter, including three triples by Lopez-Wood. A jumper by NK Ilang and a Wallace three opened up a 14-point advantage, 24-10. A pair of Portland free throws would trim the spread to 24-12 at the quarter's end.
The Pilots began to claw their way back into the game in the second quarter, using a 10-0 run capped by a pair of Van Loo free throws to pull within four, 26-22. Taylor snapped the run with a layup and, after Portland made it a four-point game once more, the Lions scored seven straight, pushing the lead back to double digits.
Portland would cut the Lion lead down tow four points twice more in the third quarter, but LMU responded each time. After a Gray layup made it 51-47 with 1:24 to play in the third, Wallace drained a three and Deanna Johnson converted a layup to give the Lions a 56-47 advantage through three.
One final push by the home team came midway through the fourth as five straight points brought the Pilots to within six, 68-62, with 4:25 to play. But the Lions would hold Portland scoreless for the remainder of the game to earn their first sweep of the Pilots since 2007-08 and their first win in the Chiles Center since Jan. 28, 2012.
"We played very much together, made the extra pass and our shot selection was really good," Elliott added. "To get the this result today was very much needed, very timely, and now we head back home to face two quality opponents."
Along with the four Lions in double figures, Deanna Johnson had nine points and Bree Alford chipped in eight. A true team win, four Lions had three assists apiece, accounting for 12 of the 14 total helpers. LMU also turned 18 offensive boards into 19 second-chance points and scored 22 points off of Portland's 17 turnovers.
LMU returns home next week for its final homestand of the 2015-16 season. The two-game set begins Thursday, Feb. 11 as the Lions host Pacific in their annual Play4Kay breast cancer awareness game. Tip off is set for 7 p.m. and fans can join the Lions raise awareness and funds in the fight against breast cancer by donating here.
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